Jackie shows wow factor

By Nicholas McBride

Greymouth singing sensation Jackie Thomas has been singled out by the judges as a potential winner after a standout performance on television talent show X-Factor last night.
The 22-year-old blasted her rendition of American indie band Bon Iver’s song Skinny Love, winning glowing praise and a standing ovation from the judges.
She has cruised ahead of 6000 hopefuls who auditioned for a tilt at fame, and will now face off against 119 other acts in the bootcamp phase.
The X-Factor competition, based on the international hit show created by Simon Cowell and running for its debut season in New Zealand, screened the fourth episode of the final round of auditions last night.
Over 6000 acts auditioned around New Zealand, of which 300 were invited to the televised auditions in Auckland.
Thomas today told the Greymouth Star it was her mother who first pushed her to audition in Greymouth.
“My family are my biggest fans for sure and my most important fans, too.”
She had previously sung in Greymouth High School productions and with the Greymouth Operatic Society, including a sellout production of Grease, but she had previously not thought of her singing as anything more than a hobby.
Heading into the live audition, she said it was a nervous experience.
“It was really scary, the people before me were getting ‘no’s.’”
The humble singer was shocked at the reaction from the crowd and judges after her performance.
“People started to get up, then the judges got up ... the comments were just the icing on the cake.”
Speaking before the performance, Thomas said she auditioned for
X-Factor because she loved music and singing.
“I’m doing this for myself, my family, all my friends and everyone in Greymouth who believed I could ... I’ll do my best, Greymouth.”
She did just that, drawing rousing applause and effusive praise from the judging panel.
Ex-lead vocalist of acclaimed British girl band All Saints Melanie Blatt, said Thomas’s performance brought a tear to her eye.
“That is the purest voice I have heard live ever.”
The normally tough judge praised Thomas’s voice as she voted the singer to the next round.
“I think I have just witnessed a performance from the winner of
X-Factor.”
New Zealand singer Ruby Frost, said the performance was perfect: “You just completely brought the house down. I just want to hear more and more and more of you.”
Pop singer and 2004 winner of a BRIT award for best British male artist, Daniel Bedingfield, gave his backing to Thomas, too. “New Zealand has just found a new sweetheart.”
Stan Walker, himself a winner of a television singing competition, said Thomas had wowed everyone.
Thomas, who moved to Auckland in January to be a student, was supported at the audition by her father Kevin, a supervisor at the Kokiri meatworks, mother Donna, a senior nurse at Grey Base Hospital, and brother Jared.